Saturday, December 5, 2015

Is It Living?

Hey Science Friends,
I am always on the hunt and lookout for the perfect book. You know the kind of book that can say and illustrate a concept that presents a concept that is easily understood by young learners. I am so fortunate that I work with teachers that not only share that passion but share it with me and share their books! This week we have been discussing living and nonliving and this book just added to that discussion. But what I love about the book the most is that it also lends to a discussion about offspring. 
Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow?
Our objective is to differentiate between living and nonliving things based on whether they have basic needs and produce offspring. I couldn't have been passed that book at a more perfect time because it not only added to our discussion but everyone was eager to share what they were thinking with each turn of the page. The book also gave us plenty of ideas to generate a great shared writing list and when it came time to notebook about it, we all had a lot to pull from. This year the children love notebooking in both math and science and if I tell them we are using our notebooks they are pretty excited and totally engaged.
As we were just about to leave for the week someone took note of one of the last slides we had looked at and asked...
Is that seed living or nonliving? Is that a baby apple?
This question gives us a great starting point for next week as we justify our thinking and discuss basic needs of plants and animals and examine evidence that living organisms have basic needs such as food, water and shelter for animals and air, water and nutrients, sunlight and space for plants. 
We used this PowerPoint about living and nonliving to help with our discussion and provide us with real world examples to discuss living and nonliving. Next week we will be justifying our thinking by posing the question...
How do you know?
I am sure we will all have fun discussing our favorite living and nonliving things and sharing with each other how we know it is living or not! 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Data and Graphs!

Hey Science Friends,
What a great week we had and the end of the week had me excited for the next when a teacher friend brought me some books to look over. It made my day. I have looked the world over for appropriate books about graphs and never could find what I was looking for...until now!
Believe it or not, concept books are my favorite. They always have been. And these books came at the perfect time just as we are comparing numbers in math and looking at weather data in science. We have gotten so good we had to increase the quantities that we are comparing. And when those quantities get larger we need some helpful tools to organize it all...graphs!
There are several in this series and you are going to want them all! There is just no way to get just one. I searched Amazon and was able to find all of the books in the series. What a thrill it was to put these books into my cart and know they will be at my doorstep within days. Just in time for me to look them over, take a few notes and plan how I am going to use them in class. And I will carry them to the library and beg my librarian to order them all because we need them there too. 
My kids already know that I read the same books to them more than once so I know that these books will be worth every penny to me. I read with a different purpose or focus. And another reason I had to have this set of books is because it has longevity. We can use these books all year long. And if I needed another reason I know I can use them for math and science and that just seals the deal for me. I feel like I hit the jackpot! 
I will spend time modeling, practicing and talking to the children about how to read these books independently even if they can't read all the words. The pictures are good enough to support some independent thinking when children browse these books. So, in the independent browsing bins these will go when I finish using them. Just think of all the opportunities for the children to use comparative language when looking through these! 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Penguins In The Classroom!

Hey Science Friends,
 Are you ready for the 2015-2106 Adélie Penguin breeding season in Antarctica?   Starting Nov 24, follow 10 new penguin families as they raise their chicks at Cape Royds, on Ross Island.  Adopt a penguin family, keep a field notebook, record parent foraging trips, egg hatching and chick rearing data. Follow daily pictures as these amazing birds raise their chicks.
Combine science, art and geography. Have your students track their penguin postcards as they are mailed down to us, and then back from Antarctica.

 Design and make a flag to fly at our research station.
 Ready made instructional powerpoints (with teaching notes) about penguins, Antarctica and more!

Something for everyone about Antarctic!

Penguin Science is an NSF funded project engaging and educating classrooms and the public about Antarctica and the amazing Adélie penguins as they raise their chicks and cope with global climate change.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Science Of Teaching Science!
Hey Science friends,
As teachers we prepare to greet classrooms full of new faces in the coming weeks, many of us turn to professional development opportunities to refresh and strengthen our skills for the year ahead. Recognizing the challenges of traditional professional development tools, which often require significant investments of both time and money, the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) launched Good Thinking!: The Science of Teaching Science in June — a free, engaging and entertaining web series designed to support science educators. The series addresses the need for accessible professional development tools that help teachers break down barriers to understanding scientific principles and enhance their classroom skills.
 A first-of-its-kind series, Good Thinking! comprises short, animated videos that explore pedagogical ideas across a range of subject-matter topics such as natural selection, energy, and the water cycle as well as cognitive research findings on topics like student motivation, the myths of learning styles, and left- and right-brained people.
Good Thinking! shines a light on the pedagogical challenges teachers face, and provides solid, science-based ideas that keep their teaching on track. The series enhances K-8 science education and deepens understanding of STEM topics, for teachers and students alike.
 Join me as we explore a little about the Science of teaching Science
with the Smithsonian Science Education Center!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tell Us About You Tuesday!

Hey Science friends,
Well, I am linking up with my friends at Freebielicious for Tell Us About You Tuesday. And it's early Wednesday morning, go figure. You know what they say for some people the wee hours in the morning are the most productive. I am a night owl and that is the way I have always been.
I am heading into my 16th year of teaching with a fresh and renewed mindset.
All of my career I have spent in Kindergarten which has been a true blessing for me.
I went to school and thought I would be a Science teacher because during my college years I truly recognized my love for the natural world and living things and I discovered the answers to many childhood questions I had about the world around me. In my last semester of college I took 27 hours just to take a kindergarten job that fell into my lap.
I live and teach deep in the heart of Texas. I have been here my whole life. Living in Texas my whole life, you would have thought that I had seen it all but that was not really the case conversation kind of changed that all for me. Since I was a child I had always wanted to travel the back roads and see Texas! After sharing my childhood dream with my husband, it wasn't long before we hit the road! We hitched a little travel trailer and I swear we never looked back...not even once!
It is safe to say I have had my share of lakeside picnics along the dusty dirt roads of Texas. This experience has given me a chance to play around with my love of photography that I always had brewing inside of me but never knew I had a real use for until teaching and blogging came into my life.
I now have a lot of memories and pictures to share with my class when we talk about Texas and natural resources which also comes in handy for writer's workshop.
The sun was shinning so bright it was hard to tell what this picture would look like. I am sure there is a setting that I should have been using but balancing yourself on a kayak with a new camera this was my best shot.
My family and I are planning a future trip to Caddo Lake. I am looking forward to pictures from that area of Texas.
 I love cooking and I have a thing for setting the table. Inside and outside the table is always set. Setting the table for brunch is my all time favorite. Who doesn't like brunch? A laid back and stress free meal...ahhh! If I only have about one brunch a month, then I want it to be special! I blog about
that here!
 Until the back to school season gets in full swing I am sure you can find me somewhere between here and there on some dusty dirt road in Texas taking pictures and blogging along the way.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sunny Sunflowers!

Hey Science Friends,
Well nothing really says summer like a sunflower! This week we ended our day putting together our sunny sunflowers. As we were working, I could hear a lot of science talk around the room. My pieces for the project were precut to save a little time.
Here are some of my favorite books about sunflowers that I have collected over the years. Any Eve Bunting book would surely be on my list.
When reading, This Is The Sunflower, we talked a lot about seeds. My class was really interested in seed dispersal this year.
I found this book two years ago and have used it each year since I discovered it, This is a good one to integrate some process art into a plant unit. We read the book and do a little internet research and look at some of the paintings. Once we have seen some of the artwork we begin talking about the different elements in the paintings that we have viewed. We will end up with artist inspired sunflower paintings before it is all said and done.
Everyone is always surprised at how easy these actually are to create. Just a little paper, pencil, crayon and watercolors are all you need. These are the "go to" projects we work on when we finish our other work.
Once the dry, a quick trip to the laminator makes the colors come alive and they are so beautiful we can't take our eyes off of them. They are so worth the time and effort. I can't wait to get these started this week!

Friday, February 6, 2015


Hey Science Friends,
We are gearing up for some investigations with rocks. Everybody needs a rock, right? Well this year we are diving right in to rocks so close to Valentine's day and although these two seem like an unlikely pair, we have made a little connection.
As I was planning for my classroom rock investigations, I was surprised to discover a few new resources to spice this Science focus up a bit. As I was searching on the Internet I discovered this new to me book and it caught my eye. I am patiently waiting for this little gem to arrive.
Love You When...
When we discuss rocks we describe properties of rocks by-
I usually spend time on each property and allow a lot of time to observe and describe different rocks to help develop or foster sensory language. With young children this can be challenging at times. I have learned that this takes time and multiple exposures. Books help me keep this area of focus alive interesting and ongoing. I will use this book as we talk about shape but what I am really excited to try is using this book for shared writing. And considering Valentine's day is approaching, I think it will offer a good opportunity to reread the text and discuss the pattern in the book.
I love you when...the sun shines bright.
Not only does this book lend itself to shared writing, the pictures support a discussion on rock shape but this book could also be integrated into the area of art. Linda Kranz is a popular "rock artist" and her painted rocks are vividly and creatively displayed along with natural rocks and stones.
Another treasure I have unearthed is Heart Stones. This book is a great lead in to some wonderful outdoor investigations because...everybody needs a rock! The children will be surprised to learn that heart stones are not all that rare and can be found.
I wonder who will find the first heart stone?
With our hand lens in hand, I know we will be ready to investigate our playground rocks and search to find one or two.
Along my journey I also discovered See A Heart Share A Heart. What speaks to me about this book is the photographic journey of hearts in nature.
Can we find heart shapes in nature?
This would be the perfect book to read as you head outside again and explore the great outdoors. I know those budding scientist will be able to capture this experience in their notebooks.
These three books should add some spice to your rock discussion and investigations. I have to admit, I am excited to give them all a try.
For more information on I Can Be A Scientist Exploring Rocks, click on the image above to take you to my store.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Groundhog Day!

Hey Science Friends,
Well, it is about a week until February 2. It is hard to believe that time has passed this quickly. So this week is the prime time to talk about the weather in class. If I could wish I would wish for some spring weather if we are not going to get any snow. I guess we will have to see what the groundhog has to say on the big day.
This coming week we are going to have a little fun before we hear if the groundhog sees his shadow or not. Either way, we are sure going to have a little groundhog fun before the day.
Part of the fun of the week will be reading all of the books that go along with it. Much to my surprise I have found quite a few books on the subject. And when you mix these books in with books about the weather, you have a lot of books to add to any Science center.
Our Science objectives include observing and describing the daily weather. We do that each day and on Wednesday we have Weather Wednesday. So, this will make a welcome little addition to spice up what we already do each day. Not only are we going to observe and describe the weather, we are going to predict, report and graph the weather too. We are making some weather headbands to get us geared up for these special reports.
We will be taking some surveys and asking...
Will we have six more weeks of winter weather?
Some of us want a little more winter but not all of us! I guess we will find out what kind of weather we want to see. It will give us a chance to look at the results, discuss the results of the surveys and find out what kind of weather we want the most or least.
We are going to sort seasonal things into the categories of spring and winter. My class loves sorting especially if it is a cut and paste sort that goes in our notebooks. And because they love sorting, I made them another sort to review living and non living. During this unit we also review basic needs.
The kids will also be excited to add illustrations to their new weather book. We are even going to do some labeling because we love labeling just about anything. We are labeling animal parts of the groundhog. When we finish reading and researching groundhogs we will be ready to write some groundhog reports. The kids are always amazed that when we put our research projects together and finally display them. All in all, I think we are ready for some groundhog fun but I couldn't leave it at that...
Because anybody knows that any good Scientist is good in math so I had to make some printables to go in our math boxes to support our current math focus. I know the kids will be excited to dig in to these printables and games. And I can't wait for some number talks with Ten Grouchy Groundhogs!
For more information click on the image above!


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